- Membership would help avoid being sidelined, Plevneliev says
- Government hasn’t yet set deadline for ERM-2 application
Bulgaria needs to speed up its efforts to join the euro area to avoid being sidelined in European politics, President Rosen Plevneliev said.
“After the U.K.’s referendum on leaving the European Union, a united Europe needs a new integration push,” Plevneliev’s office said in an e-mailed statement, citing his speech in New York. “Bulgaria needs to accelerate its preparation for joining the zone of the common European currency, or it risks falling behind in the decision-making process.”
A member of the 28-nation bloc since 2007, living standards in Bulgaria are still far below the EU average, though it would meet some of the technical criteria for adopting the euro. The government, which hasn’t set a deadline for applying to the ERM-2 pre-euro exchange mechanism yet, sees this year’s economic growth at 3 percent. The budget deficit is expected at about 1 percent of gross domestic product, below the EU’s ceiling.